Video: Video Finds: Dance — Carmen |
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Video Finds: Dance — Carlos Saura’s “Carmen”

At the flamenco dance school which forms the master setting for Carlos Saura’s movie version of the Antonio Gades stage show Carmen, the rehearsal for the tobacco factory scene should be enough to drive the new viewer in search of the DVD that will yield the complete miracle. One of the greatest dance movies ever made, Carmen powerfully suggests that if Saura’s other dance movies had been danced to flamenco on wooden floors they would have been miraculous too. But in his Amor Brujo the flamenco dancers dance on sand, thereby removing three-quarters of the impulse, and his tango movie (called simply Tango) is miles off: Saura’s true talent is for filming dancers in groups, and the tango is not a group dance. Nevertheless, in Carmen even the solo and pairs dancing — all the choreography is by the movie’s leading man, Gades — is sufficiently sensational, and the group dancing, as in this extract, is beyond praise. Saura’s title-role star, Laura del Sol, is so vividly beautiful she might have carried the movie even if it had been about double-entry bookkeeping, but in the tobacco-factory scene she blends in, and the essence of a truly fabulous movie is all here in a few short minutes.

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